Tuesday, June 05, 2018

What did your lfe mean? The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom)

     Mitch Albom. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003) Albom made his name with Tuesdays With Morrie, which was made into a successful movie. I’ve seen the movie, it teeters just this side of sentimentality.
     This book (also made into a movie) teeters over, which is a pity, since it’s a lovely idea: Eddie, the hero, dies while saving a little girl when a gondola on an amusement park ride falls. The story tells of how in the afterlife he meets five people who affected his life in ways he didn’t fully understand or didn’t know. He needs to discover how his life made sense and had a purpose before he can live in his own corner of heaven.
     Eddie had a harsh upbringing, went to war, came home a changed man, and didn’t have the children he and his wife wanted. He ends up working in maintenance in the Ruby Pier Amusement Park, a job his father held, and which he thinks marks him as a failure. The five people he meets show him otherwise.
     Albom writes well, if occasionally too consciously ironic, and with sometimes too much authorial commentary. If the book causes the reader to reflect on how minor and major incidents shaped his own life, it will have succeeded. As a story about a likeable man who finally understands his own value, it’s well-done. Read it. ***

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